When explaining that I am working on applications to improve garment fit there are often one of two responses. A response from a person outside the garment industry is one of delight that I might possibly understand their plight for a well-fitting garment. A response from within the industry is often one of surprise because “have I not heard of virtual prototyping, 3D modelling and the myriad of other technological breakthroughs?” It is precisely because of these technologies that I took a sabbatical from garment design and went rogue into anthropometric research.
My research can at first appear redundant because it is directed at a grey zone residing somewhere between the consumers’ complaint for better fit and the technological advances that have the potential to solve those complaints.
My research does not involve approximating mesh triangle areas, buckling primitives to simulate fabric folds and wrinkles, or applying Gaussian curvature to garment surface development. It involves updating the fitting methodologies for computer generated 2D patterns that these applications work with. Regardless of automation garments must still be made from patterns. To fit the human form the three-dimensional body must be translated to a series of two-dimensional lines and curves. Traditional pattern drafting methodologies rely strongly on physical fittings and corrections to perfect fit. It follows then that computer patterns produced from the same methodologies will require 3D virtual fittings and corrections to perfect fit.
It is my strongest belief that current mass garment customization technologies have failed to provide mass customized fit because they are built upon pattern drafting methodologies developed for human interaction to perfect fit.
Testing the fit of any traditionally drafted basic block on the figures below will quickly prove my point. The foundation on which garment pattern are being created needs updating. Difficulties with customized fit for outlier bodies (bodies differing from the fit model in key fit areas) has often been blamed on fit preference issues. While fit preference issues do prevail, I would like to suggest that improving the inherent fit reality of patterns will solve many, if not most, fitting concerns.
My research has been directed at new shaping methodologies so that patterns requiring fewer (if any) corrections are produced. My shaping methodologies are gender neutral. Bodies are analyzed for body weight and height distribution and customized shaping and darting are identified and detailed in a fitting profile. The fitting profile of an individual is then compared to the fitting profile of a garment design and computer algorithms determine what shaping and darting can be put into design ease and what shaping and darting must remain. Patterns can be updated using current CAD made-to-measure software.
For mass garment customization to become a reality computers must be programmed with gender neutral fitting methodologies inherent in the blocks from which the patterns originate.
The systems in place for mass garment customization work on fit model bodies. With updated fitting methodologies these systems can work on all bodies. Contact me to discuss how Intelligent Shaping™, the database application containing my methodologies, can easily integrate with existing CAD made-to-measure applications to substantially improve the fit of current mass customization technologies.